Cambridge is no backwater for queer people
JOSSIE EVANS: Week 4
I started writing this an hour before it was due in. With a lack of inspiration and tired with writing about sex I delved back into my murky pre-university past. My guttural cries rang out around Banbury town on the morning of September 12th 1994 and since then I have called B-Town my home. The Urban Dictionary defines Banbury as:
A Little Town In Oxfordshire, England. The Town Is Most Notable For It’s Violent Crime, Clear Segregation Between Communities And The Terrible Childrens Nursery Rhyme: “Ride A Cock Horse” Which Recently Graced The Embittered Landscape With It’s Own Hideous Statue, Across From The 2-Screen Cinema. People Die Here. Constantly. More Than Anywhere Else. You Bet.
(The capitals on each word were not my own addition may I add. Likewise I’ve cut the bit about “chavs” because that was just uncalled for really.)
Through the rose tinted glasses I wore throughout my naive youth, Banbury was a fabulous place. The nursery rhyme was a smash hit, the cinema was plenty and death was a long way off and also meant just having a long sleep. All was well. It was only when the impending doom of a sexuality crisis hit that Banbury lost its quaint appeal. At the age of fourteen I was madly infatuated with my best friend’s sister and the next thing I knew I was announcing my newly discovered bisexuality with the aid of my first taste of vodka.
For the young bisexual or any other member of the LGBT+ community, Banbury lacked opportunity. There was a lone “gay night” once a month in the classiest bar (with a dance floor in town!) and attendance was low, this has since been shut down. The only other club was filled with all the same people from school and walking in was like walking into morning assembly. Side note, somebody recently got their ear bitten off in that very club!
I underwent a home schooling of sorts and dedicated my evenings to religiously watching all six seasons of ‘The L Word’ on repeat. It seemed nobody understood me though, and so I turned to Tumblr to vent my bisexual teen angst, it was ironically called ‘the only happy tumblr’. Attempting to explain my bisexuality to my mildly homophobic friends was difficult. The thought of simultaneously finding both men and women attractive perplexed my close group of friends. Each time I had a boyfriend they celebrated, showed all the interest imaginable – especially when he was large, hunky and rugby playing. Whenever things then switched to boobs, hairless bums and womanly hips the reactions were muted.
Though Cambridge often gets stick for the LGBT+ nightlife, it’s somewhat of a haven in contrast to home. The two weekly club nights and recent rise in queer parties are a godsend for this backwater town bisexual looking for a wild night. Before this turns into a dating site I’ll leave as I am now disgustingly late for a birthday party.